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A few words on word of mouth

CBS CMO George Schweitzer discusses how word of mouth travels faster than ever these days because of social networking.

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Television has always been social. Historically it's been the electronic hearth where families gather around to watch, enjoy, reflect, and discuss. What's on TV pervades our culture--socially, economically, and politically. It's the topic of conversation during the morning commute, at the office, and at the dinner table.

While viewing habits continue to evolve, people's desire to connect around TV remains constant. Apart from seeing previews and promos on television, word of mouth from trusted friends and colleagues is the most important way that people learn about what's on and decide what to watch.

Today, word of mouth travels faster than ever. Instead of waiting until the next day to talk about their shows at the water cooler, people are increasingly talking about them while they are on, sharing their thoughts and opinions on social-networking platforms. Word-of-mouth that was once invisible can now be seen, monitored, and measured.


Our goal as television marketers is to make it easy for people to sample, share, and talk about our shows. We love the direct connection to viewers that social media provides. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter help passionate fans spread the word and act as cheerleaders for our content. They also empower them to talk to each other and unite over a shared love for our programming.

Yet it's also important to recognize that less than 10 percent of all word of mouth conversations happen online. While only 6 percent of Americans use Twitter, everybody talks. People talking to people face-to-face is still the most important connection to be made. Regardless of what industry or product category you are in, the best way to ensure people will say good things is to create excellent experiences. In the TV biz, that means making shows that people love. It always comes back to great content.